Reply To: Male characters question

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I find this topic very interesting after spending a couple years researching lgbtq+ and neurodiversity, and trying to figure out what makes up a “male brain” and a “female brain” and what’s just societal pressures and conventions. This one’s very important to me because I struggled with identity as a female growing up and wanted to be genderless or bi-gender even tho I was comfortable with my body I just wanted to be treated like a person first.

It’s really interesting to me, like Mr Brian pointed out guys tend to want respect over relationships and I grew up wanting to be “part of the pack” and earn respect first and it was only in my teens that I started to value relationships over respect, and I still act kinda masc a lot.

I connected with guys a lot more than girls growing up and scorned “girly stuff” but really wanted/and still do to protect girls and kids in more traditionally masculine ways like in fistfights and I like holding doors open for people and standing for gals. And I still don’t shave my legs unless my mom tells me to.

Conversely, I made friends with a boy (duly note at ages 4-9 I befriended boys by tackling them to assert dominance, don’t judge) who was very soft-mannered and enjoyed insulting me (I thought it was hilarious) and he never fought, I always got the sense he was bullied a lot for it and that made pretty bitter but he always avoided showing his emotions. So he provoked people to “assert dominance” which is something more associated with girls than boys just like not wanting to fight.

And neurodiverse people tend to really act outside of usual gender norms, and be bullied for it. If your character is artistic they’re twice as likely to break gender-norms…I think. I got a scholarship for being a girl in a guy-dominated field of graphic design and most of the guys there love pink so…🤷‍♀️

Growing up I always related to the guys more than the girls in action-adventure movies and that contributed a lot to my dysphoria, so now I make a point of giving every single one of my characters 1 trait that’s typically associated with the other gender and my biggest priority is to design a person first and then address their gender and how it affects their personality. One of my most popular characters, Ehud and Rosario, gender-flip the popular trope “Pink Girl with a Crush” and “Tall, Dark and Handsome” with Ehud being the cute, bubbly emotionally-attuned one and Rosario being the tough, strong and closed-off one.

But even with their completely flipped roles that I really embraced, the further on I got the more I noticed Ehud is attracted to her ability to fight and that’s something he spends the entire story trying to obtain; the ability to fight in his own way and that kinda ties to what Mr Brian was talking about with respect and being competitive. And Rosario had a very strong motherly attraction to Ehud, and she was competitive and wanted respect but she wanted primarily to have the necessary strength to preserve the good in her life more than she wanted it for its own sake.

So…what I’ve seen with real gender differences is…just something very hard to label. Men often prioritize physically defending and expanding assets while women prioritize defending consequence-mindedly and preserving good. But…especially neurodiverse people kinda seem to flip that on its head a lot so I really don’t know…how to articulate this very clear idea I’ve got in my head that’s really nuanced!!!!!

And no one can define gender mentally, we just gotta stick with the shape of your reproductive system to define that because any other hard rule you try to tag somebody’s gonna be an exception to it.

So. In conclusion. I have no clue what I’m talking about but this was fun 😝

So just write a person and worry about gender later, if you try to hard EVERYONE CAN SENSE IT AND IT FEELS CONSTRUED!!! Like, we’re talking about different genders here not different species…🤷‍♀️


Yo @noah-cochran, you’re actually a guy, what do you think? 🙃

To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

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